Research Stories September 25, 2015

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Google’s voice recognition technology used in software and services like Google Now and search has been among the best for the past couple of years. Still, the company hasn’t been resting and just announced that the methods in which it detects and predicts words have been improved to give much faster, more efficient results with better reliability…

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Research Stories June 19, 2015

Newspaper

Through its Digital News Initiative launched last April, Google has selected three projects to honor with its Computational Journalism Research Award in Europe. Google says that each project it selected “create[s] innovative new tools and open source software that will support online journalism and benefit readers.” In addition to being highlighted by Google with an award, these recipients also receives cash funding as well as computing credit to support their projects: expand full story

Research Stories June 5, 2015

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comScore today has released its latest data regarding smartphone market share. The analytics firm says that 188.6 million people owned a smartphone during a three-month period ending in April. That equates to 76.9 percent of the mobile market being made up of smartphones at this point. Apple, according to the data, further strengthened its lead. The company saw a 1.8 percent increase in market share this time around, going from 41.3 percent in January to 43.1 percent in April.

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Research Stories June 2, 2015

Android lawn statues

How many calories does all that Android have?

Google showed off its new photo storage service at I/O last week with features including unlimited backup and searching for images by keywords, but the company has another image-related technology in development. Google can already recognize images of food when you search your photo library, but its currently developing technology that goes a step further by actually counting the calories in your meal based on your food shots. This could make dieting and calorie counting much more convenient in the future if it works well enough… expand full story

Research Stories September 3, 2014

Google-backed Calico launching $1.5 billion research center with goal of extending life

While it is impossible to escape mortality entirely, Google-backed life sciences company Calico reportedly has plans to launch a $1.5 billion research and development center with an underlying goal of extending the lifespan of humans. The future San Francisco-based aging research center, to be built in partnership with biopharmaceutical company AbbVie, is said to focus on drug discovery and development for diseases such as neurodegeneration and cancer. 

Research Stories July 24, 2014

Google shares latest focus areas for Internet policy and standards research proposals

 

Vint Cerf, Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist, posted the company’s latest policy and standards research proposal focus areas today on Google’s research blog:

We would like to share with you the areas of Internet policy in which we are particularly interested to see progress and stimulate further research:

  • Accessibility: Google is committed to supporting research that generates insights about what helps make technology a usable reality for everyone, regardless of cognitive, physical, sensory, or other form of impairment.
  • Access: What policies help bring open, robust, competitive and affordable Internet access to everyone in the world? What are the economic and social impacts of improved Internet access? In particular, what are the emerging impacts of gigabit access networks?
  • Intellectual property (IP) in the digital era: The growth of digital industries has meant that IP law is an increasingly important policy tool governing innovation and economic growth. We would like to better understand how IP legislation can enable new technologies, and what effect different national or regional IP regimes have on innovation, such as the effect of patent litigation on invention, and how copyright exceptions affect the creation of online technologies.
  • Freedom of Expression: As an advocate of freedom of expression on the Internet, Google is interested in research that produces insights into how discourse and expression in the global online (public) sphere happens, and how stakeholders best allow freedom of expression, balance it with other rights and resolve conflicts or interest/disputes.
  • Internet Governance: The Internet is a universal space that many expect to remain open, free, and borderless. Multiple stakeholders (internet companies, governments and civil society) work together to design the governance practices and institutions to maintain order and innovation in the global Internet ecosystem. We are interested in supporting top researchers who analyze and contribute insights into which practices and institutional structures work and which don’t.
  • Open Standards and Interoperability: Open Standards and interoperability of services are at the core of the Internet’s successful international propagation and usefulness. Google is interested in research that contributes analysis and best practices for standardization and interoperability. Among them we see resource management, access control and authorities for the Internet of Things, as well as questions regarding convergence and security. Also, cloud computing and storage could benefit from open standards that enable interoperability.

Additionally, there are several important research areas like PrivacyEconomics and market algorithms, and Security, which have a significant policy component but are dealt with as research topics distinct from policy & standards.

For more from Vint Cerf and Google’s role on shaping Internet policy, see the Google VP and Chief Internet Evangelist’s recent interview with Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central as seen in the shot above.

Research Stories May 22, 2013

Bloomberg goes inside Google’s X research lab

Bloomberg published a nice read this morning following a tour of Google’s secretive X lab and a chat with some of the employees that work there. In the story Bloomberg talks Google Glass development, driverless cars, and lesser known X projects, speaks with Mary Lou Jepsen who heads up the Google X Display Division, and provides some insight into how the whole thing got started.

Some of the real projects in Google X sound almost as outlandish. Makani Power’s newest airborne turbine prototype, called Wing 7, is a 26-foot-long carbon-fiber contraption with four electricity-generating propellers that flies in circles at altitudes of 800 to 2,000 feet, sending power down a lightweight tether to a base station. “If we’re successful, we can get rid of a huge part of the fossil fuels we use,” says Damon Vander Lind, the startup’s chief engineer. Vander Lind acknowledges it might not work, but: “If you don’t take that chance, and put a decade of your life trying to do it, no progress will get made.”

Then there’s X’s still-secret project to bring Internet access to undeveloped parts of the world. A decade ago, David Grace, a senior research fellow at the University of York, spearheaded a project to mount broadband transmitters on high-altitude balloons, as part of a multicountry initiative backed by the European Commission, called the Capanina Consortium. The initiative never progressed beyond the experimental stage. Grace now says that he has heard that Google is working on such balloon-based broadband technology.

Research Stories June 26, 2012

NYT: X Lab Googlers built a ‘brain’ that identifies cats in YouTube videos

Google X Laboratory scientists have worked on a simulation of the human brain for the last few years, and now they are using it to indentify cats.

According to The New York Times, Google researchers created “one of the largest neural networks for machine learning by connecting 16,000 computer processors, which they turned loose on the Internet to learn on its own.” More specifically, Google turned the “brain” to 10 million images found in YouTube videos about cats:

The neural network taught itself to recognize cats, which is actually no frivolous activity. This week the researchers will present the results of their work at a conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Google scientists and programmers will note that while it is hardly news that the Internet is full of cat videos, the simulation nevertheless surprised them. It performed far better than any previous effort by roughly doubling its accuracy in recognizing objects in a challenging list of 20,000 distinct items.

The research is representative of a new generation of computer science that is exploiting the falling cost of computing and the availability of huge clusters of computers in giant data centers. It is leading to significant advances in areas as diverse as machine vision and perception, speech recognition and language translation.

Google’s brain eventually constructed a digital patchwork of a cat by cropping general features from the millions of images that it identified. The method could eventually prove useful in image search, speech recognition, and language translation. The Googlers maintained caution, however, about whether their research is, as The New York Times put it, “the holy grail of machines that can teach themselves.”

The research project is no longer a part of Google X laboratory, but rather search business and related services.

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